down the rabbit hole

A Mysterious Manuscript Found in Old Copy of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Do you like second-hand books? I love those used copies not only because of the book value but for some unexpected surprises hidden in the book. Literally. 

A mysterious manuscript was recently found in a used copy of Alice in Wonderland in a second-hand bookshop in Warrnambool, Australia. Lorraine Smith, the owner of the bookshop, recalled that the customer came to her saying that she found this “surprise” while browsing Alice in Wonderland.

Just like going down a rabbit hole, you never know what you’re going to find! The manuscript was indeed mysterious. It’s a parchment-like material with a zig-zag top and recognizable numbers “1583” on the bottom. What else is written on it? No one knows. 


mysterious manuscript

Image via Lorraine Smith


Smith said:


“I could tell that it was very old…But I didn’t know what to do with it.”

To find out what’s on it, her daughter Karyn sent this manuscript to a professor of early modern history at the University of Queensland and got the result: the document could be traced back to the 16th century, more than 200 years before the British arrived in Australia. According to Sarah Laskow, a staff writer at Atlas Obscura, “In 16th-century Britain, a contract would have been drafted twice on the same piece of parchment and cut into a zig-zag; in the future, each party could authenticate the other’s copy by matching up the unique cut pattern.” 


Okay, one thing is confirmed: it’s a contract. But what else is waiting on the other side of the rabbit hole? See Laskow’s article for more information about the mysterious manuscript.

Featured Image Via El Escobillon